The Australian Army has launched an urgent investigation after discovering serving soldiers have links to neo-Nazi groups.
The inquiry was triggered by an investigation by this masthead into white supremacist groups which features leaked recordings and conversations from encrypted forums that reveal an emerging cohort of Australian extremist leaders seeking to access firearms and ridiculing law enforcement.
NSW tradesman Jack Eltis is one of the emerging leaders in local extremist groups.
This masthead’s investigation unearthed links between extremist groups and Australian Defence Force members, as well as state police forces. The Queensland Police also launched an inquiry into connections between two serving police and alleged white supremacists.
The investigation also established the identities of emerging or previously unknown neo-Nazi leaders around the country, some with a keen interest in obtaining firearms and training in their use.
At least three soldiers appear to have joined the military after being active members or liaising closely with white supremacist groups, including those monitored by Australian security and intelligence agencies.
One soldier’s social media footprint reveals his involvement with a white supremacist outfit called Operation Werewolf.
‘NSN advocates for its members to spur a ‘white revolution’ to inspire change for the white race.′
A security briefing seen by the investigation described Operation Werewolf as a group that “strives for Aryan supremacy”, with Australian members who “undertake survivalist training including unarmed combat, weapons training and hunting”.
Before joining the military, a second serving soldier attended a training camp for neo-Nazi group Antipodean Resistance, which advocates a race war and has been the subject of intensive ASIO investigations. This soldier previously socialised with at least two members of Australia’s largest neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Network.
While the number of ADF recruits with neo-Nazi backgrounds appears small, and there is no evidence they have engaged in extremist activities while in the military, their discovery raises questions about the adequacy of military vetting.
The US military is grappling with cases of infiltration by active white supremacists on a scale far greater than that in Australia.
A security source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the ADF still had gaps in its vetting programs that made it vulnerable to neo-Nazi infiltration.
Defence declined to comment on individual soldiers but said it investigates and acts when personnel are identified as potentially involved in unlawful or inappropriate activities.
There was “no place for unlawful or inappropriate association with groups or organisations that engage in advocacy for extremist ideology, extremist views, or criminal activity within the Australian Defence Force”, it said in a statement. “Defence works closely with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify and counter threats to Defence and Defence personnel involving ideologically motivated extremism.”
Two years after The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald conducted a major undercover exposé of Australia’s neo-Nazi movement, a fresh nationwide investigation has established the identities of emerging or previously unknown neo-Nazi leaders.
They include key figures from Australia’s most active neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Network, whose members – according to a police counter-terrorism briefing seen by this masthead – “are known to have previously had access to firearms and weapons training”.
“NSN advocates for its members to spur a ‘white revolution’ to inspire change for the white race, achieved through overthrowing the current social and political order to establish a National Socialist system,” the police briefing states.
The NSN’s New South Wales cell leader is Jack Eltis, a tradesman who has conducted training events for neo-Nazis in NSW. The NSN has nominated him to fill any national leadership vacuum if the group’s most prominent member, Melbourne man Tom Sewell, is jailed in connection to aggravated burglary charges. Sewell has been charged but is yet to face a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Eltis has posted on encrypted chat groups, reviewed by this masthead, about how the “tyrannical Jewish system and its police and security apparatus are attempting to convict Thomas Sewell with overreaching charges”.
In the posts, Eltis attacks counter-terrorism authorities who have charged NSN members in Victoria, NSW and South Australia with “ludicrous fabricated terrorism charges”.
“The men in our organisation know that no temporary sacrifice is too great for the future of the white race,” he says.
When contacted by this masthead, Eltis was unapologetic about his leadership role in the NSN and attacked the media and counter-terror agencies for what he claimed was the harassment of his organisation. He confirmed he believed there was “no pathway for political change via the current Western liberal democratic framework” but said the NSN rejected the use of violence.
In Queensland, the NSN has appointed university student Gabe Seymour as its leader, assigning him the task of collating and publishing the group’s propaganda via encrypted online platforms.
Queensland man Gabe Seymour.
Seymour has travelled to Sydney and Melbourne, including as recently as December, to participate in NSN training and recruitment events.
The NSN’s activities were comprehensively exposed by this masthead’s Nazis Next Door investigative series with 60 Minutes in 2021. That investigation revealed it as an organisation that privately celebrated the Christchurch terrorist, and was seeking tracts of rural land to establish a white ethno-state and access to firearms.
Seymour did not respond to efforts to contact him.
Two well-known NSN leaders, Melbourne’s Sewell and Adelaide’s Patrick Patmore, have since faced criminal charges after investigations by state counter-terrorism authorities.
Patrick Patmore outside the South Australian District Court.Credit:Nine News
In late February, Patmore was sentenced in the South Australian District Court to at least 19 months’ home detention and banned from contacting fellow NSN members, and those from the affiliated European Australian Movement, after counter-terror detectives found a “small and crude” explosive device in his shed, homemade knives, a machete, a battleaxe and ammunition.
In sentencing Patmore, judge Michael Burnett also said he had been found with documents describing ways of “committing a terrorist act”, as well as the manifesto of the Christchurch terrorist.
A leaked audio recording Patmore posted to an encrypted extremist chatroom after he began home detention revealed that he was seeking to “push the limits” of his detention order in order to continue communicating with fellow neo-Nazis.
“I am going to see how far I can push that because the feds f—ed up with the wording [of the communication ban] … I’m still waiting to talk to my lawyer on that before I push the limits there just to be a prick,” Patmore said on the leaked audio.
“I told the feds as they f—en left the courtroom. I made sure they knew I knew they f—ed up. I can’t talk to anyone from the NSN. And my query was, who is a member and who is not. Who is a member in the eyes of us, national socialists, or the eyes of the state?”
A leading NSN figure was convicted for a violent attack then boasted on a podcast that he had also manipulated his court-ordered sentence conditions.
“I’ve managed to game the system a little bit, which I won’t go into too much detail,” he said, revealing he used a special-circumstances clause to conduct his community service at home, sewing on a loom.
The activities of the NSN’s established and emerging leaders suggest that while media scrutiny and efforts by counter-terror authorities have slowed the group’s activities, dedicated members continue to seek to access firearms and radicalise young Australians.
Online posts from Seymour, a pharmacy student at the University of Queensland and a Chemist Warehouse employee, on encrypted channels populated by NSN members, reveal he has distributed a manual on how to manufacture guns using a 3D printer and undertaken firearms training.
The posts reveal Seymour has also celebrated the actions of the Christchurch terrorist and contemplated committing an act of violence.
“Am I dumb enough to ruin my life over a hatred of society. Almost. Not yet. But almost,” he wrote in a series of posts in which he also wrote of killing Muslims.
In other posts, Seymour mocks ASIO, promotes the concept of a race war – a staple of neo-Nazi propaganda – and makes repeated antisemitic references.
Seymour’s identity was confirmed by anti-fascist researchers from the White Rose Society using online surveillance. They matched photos he posted of neo-Nazi propaganda at his Queensland home to pictures of a house listed for sale on a real estate website. Public records linked Seymour to this home address.
In one social media post showing flags, Seymour says: “Gotta give ASIO something nice to look at.”
The ability of extremists to access weapons was highlighted in the recent fatal shooting of two police officers in Queensland, assessed by police and ASIO as “an act of politically motivated violence, primarily motivated by a Christian violent extremist ideology”.
In February, the Albanese government committed to move on a long-standing failure of state and federal governments to better share intelligence and licensing data on firearm possession.
In investigating white supremacists’ access to firearms, this masthead has uncovered links between active right-wing extremists and serving police officers.
In Victoria, highly active NSN member Nathan Bull, 21, is the son of a Victoria Police officer who is currently on extended leave and who failed to declare his son’s neo-Nazi activities.
The force declined to comment on the police officer, whom this masthead is not naming for legal reasons, but said in a statement: “While we know people can’t choose their family, the policy outlines what relationships must be declared to ensure any actual or perceived risks are managed.”
Bull is a frequent participant in NSN training events and has also posted NSN propaganda on encrypted platforms, recently encouraging neo-Nazis to disrupt a queer youth event at the Victorian Pride Centre.
In Queensland, social media posts reveal that an active neo-Nazi who is the partner of a policewoman has sought advice in encrypted neo-Nazi group chats about finding online forums for “police who are shitty or who go against the grain”.
A second Queensland white supremacist has also been identified as the son of a police senior constable.
In a statement, a Queensland Police spokesperson said its Ethical Standards Command was investigating the issues raised and declined to comment further.
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